Discovering Digital Humanities at UC Berkeley

This post was originally published at the UC Berkeley Digital Humanities blog on November 20, 2013.

Chris Church leads a workshop at D-Lab. Image Source: D-Lab

Campus resources can be both exciting and dizzying. As a new graduate student at UC Berkeley, I spent most of my first semester lost in a sea of academic resources, departments, research centers, and events. I realize now that many of my meaningful connections I made revolved around the burgeoning community of digital humanities here at UC Berkeley.

Basic googling and asking around brought me to D-Lab, the center for “intelligent research design for the age of data intensive social science.” Although I felt a bit intimidated with the idea of ‘data’ and ‘social science’ in my own humanities close-reading work in history, I found a home in D-Lab in 356 Barrows Hall on campus. Over the course of the semester, I participated in a working group on maps, attended a workshop on data management, set the foundations for a digital project with a consultant, and feasted on candy and coffee with an interesting group of students, researchers, librarians, and staff. In no way was I doing ground-breaking data design and research, but I became involved with D-lab because I had no idea what data-intensive research meant but was eager to find out.

Through some of the events at D-Lab, I was able to meet other individuals interested in digital technologies and research from all over campus such as from the Humanities, Social Sciences, I-School, and Research Information Technologies, where I now serve as an assistant to the Digital Humanities Coordinator, Quinn Dombrowksi. Although the digital humanities program at Berkeley is still in its earlier stages, I have discovered many resources and individuals spread throughout campus, broadly united by digital humanities and research computing. Initiatives to build data science and centers like the Berkeley Center for New Media are some diverse examples of arenas where digital humanities intersects. I have also found a flurry of excitement around new possibilities and an eagerness for collaboration and ideas. This blog contributes to the interdisciplinary development of digital humanities at Berkeley by centering the diverse resources on and beyond campus and also serving as an online space for community building.

I was initially interested in digital humanities for its innovative methodologies and approaches. I have also found something even more important from digital humanities: the unique and exciting space for community, collaboration, and experimentation.

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